This week’s victim, Texas Tech, suffers from a problem somewhat unique to the rest of the charter Big 12 schools: there just aren’t that many Red Raiders we care about much one way or another. But your intrepid staff was able to finally decide which five Lubbockites were probably the least offensive to the sensibilities of a loyal Kansas State alum.
5) Adam James
Well, sure, he’s an entitled little feminine hygiene device. But without Adam James, we would never have had Craig James asshat his way out of broadcasting and into a failed Senate bid. We would never have had Mike Leach turning into a weird folk hero.
And most importantly, we would never have had the most famous battle cry ever launched by this network: #CJK5H, which resulted in a page at Know Your Meme as well as Personal Friend of Your Benevolent Despot nikolaidenmark actually getting a copy of Swing Your Sword inscribed with that hashtag by Leach himself. Two years later, a store in Fort Worth sold CJK5H t-shirts ahead of TCU’s game with SMU, to which Adam James transferred after being run out of Lubbock.
The best part about Adam James is that this is, and will forever be, the only thing for which he’s actually remembered, and for that we cannot hate him. He performed a great service to college football fandom.
4) Byron Hanspard
Hanspard played in the very first Big 12 football game, K-State’s 21-14 win over the Red Raiders on Opening Day 1996. Hanspard ran for 115 yards in only 2 1⁄2 quarters that day, pulling up lame with a minor ankle injury. That left Zebbie Lethridge (see below) to try and fuel Tech’s desperate comeback from a 21-3 deficit. That was a deficit they had no business enduring, as everything in that day’s box score pointed to a Texas Tech rout. But K-State’s defense had kept the Red Raiders out of the end zone on all but one occasion, Tech’s kickers were terrible, and Mario Smith destroyed Donnie Hart on 4th-and-18 to preserve the victory.
But enough about us.
Hanspard would more than recover from that minor injury. He finished 1996 with 2,084 yards rushing, second only to another guy we’ve already talked about in this series, Iowa State Cyclones ‘s Troy Davis. Davis finished one place ahead of Hanspard’s sixth-place finish in the Heisman voting, but it was Hanspard who collected the Doak Walker Trophy and then entered the draft a year early.
His pro career wasn’t anything special, and he did cause some grief for Tech by completely ignoring his classes in the fall of 1996; that caused Tech to withdraw themselves from bowl consideration a year later. On the other hand, Hanspard was a rarity: he was already an ordained minister when he arrived in Lubbock. In 2016, Hanspard finally graduated college, collecting a degree from Texas A&M-Commerce.
3) Kliff Kingsbury
Ah, Kliffy. Listen, we know he rubs some people the wrong way, but the dude exudes pure clouds of unadulterated cool, and he also had the decency to completely fail to beat K-State without Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback.
And then he flipped a 35-40 career record as a collegiate head coach into running the Arizona Cardinals. Come on, man. You can’t hate.
2) Sheryl Swoopes
A basketball hall-of-famer — not just the women’s basketball hall of fame, but the Naismith one — Swoopes initially attended Texas before transferring to a JUCO and then joining the Red Raiders for the 1991-92 season. Two years later, she was an NCAA champion on the heels of a 28.1 PPG season in which she also averaged over nine rebounds a game. In that 1993 title game against Ohio State, Swoopes went off for 47 points. Tech needed every one of them in an 84-82 victory.
Swoopes then went on to do not much, really. Just three Olympic gold medals and four consecutive WNBA titles with the Houston Comets. No big deal.
After a tumultuous and wildly unsuccessful tenure as the head coach at Loyola-Chicago, Swoopes is now an assistant coach at her alma mater.
1) Patrick Mahomes
For the second week in a row, our top pick requires zero explanation. Even JT picked Patrick Mahomes, and he’s a 49ers fan. Sorry, JT.
Tony Battle, Andre Emmett, Graham Harrell, Zebbie Lethridge, Wes Welker